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An Elegant Action

Stephen, a martial light in his eye, stepped into the main cabin, noted his cello standing against a chair, ready for the musical evening for which he had been hoping the entire week. He frowned slightly, not seeing Jack's violin.

"Well, Jack, are we to have music? I laid out the new Bach invention, ah, I see it there now, underneath those scribblings of yours."

Jacks sat at his table, hunched over a half-written page and touched his pen to the tip of his tongue, briefly registering the inky taste and the memories it called forth of his childhood, ignored Stephen's fingers raising the edge of the paper, wrote a few more words, then pushed the papers away from him, masking his irritation.

"So, Stephen, have you come to encourage me in my task?"

"Jack, my dear, I am desolate, have I interrupted you? I do beg your forgiveness; here, shall I take the Bach?" Matching his actions to his words, he pulled the manuscript from under Jack's papers, scattering them across the table, then spread Bach out on top.

"Truly you have not," Jack said, putting down his pen with a sigh, and smiling, all sign of irritation gone, his bright blue eyes shinning in his face. "It is only this report for the Admiralty. It is too long by half; no matter what I do; however I change the words around, I will never make it into something elegant." He collected the papers Stephen had strewn about into a stack.. "Shall you read it over? Mind it is only a draft, and a poor one at that. I fear I have done little justice to those who fought so gallantly in our latest action."

"Certainly, I am content to do what I can." Stephen took the proffered papers, and read quickly, striking out whole lines with Jack's unmended pen, adding a word here, moving a sentence there, then returned the whole. Jack, having watched anxiously as Stephen scratched away, read as Stephen sat tuning his cello.

"Why, Stephen this is indeed much better. You have caught my intent entirely. I am in your debt. You have made this as elegant as can be done. I will have a clean copy made, and Bob's your uncle."

"Nonsense, brother. The bones are yours. Besides, the proof of the pare in is the reading."

© 2005 Ginger Sheer-White